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Thomas McJD
Thomas McJD, Attorney
Category: Estate Law
Satisfied Customers: 6516
Experience:  Wills, Trusts, Probate & other Estate Matters
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My mother passed away in 1995. My sister is handling the trust.

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My mother passed away in 1995. My sister is handling the trust. Everything in the will was turned over to the trust and my sister will not settle the estate, There are 4 heirs. I would like to see if there is a form that will take me out of the picture. I am worried that I may be responsible for things that my sister may do with the estate and I do not want to be lible. Example: I have another sister that has been in a nursing home since 1995 with the state paying her expenses because my sister swore that this sister had no assets. She is an heir. I am worried that the state can come back on me personally for the money that they have paid when my sister should have settled the estate and used my sisters portion towards her living expenses and did not All heirs live in Georgia and the property is in Georgia.
Thank you for your help.

TMcJD :

Hi, I will be happy to assist you, and it is my goal to make you a very satisfied customer! This may take a few minutes, so thanks for your patience.

TMcJD :

When you say you spent $35,000 trying to settle the case, does that mean you retained an attorney? Did that involve an attempt to settle the trust as well? What prevented a settlement of the trust? Why do you have concerns that you might be liable for any wrongdoing by your sister?

Customer:

ok

Customer:

The day we went to court my sister turned everything over to the trust. At that point the judge said that we would have to go to civil court and the lawyer said it would cost us again as much as we already spent so we gave up. That was over 8 years ago now.

Customer:

Because I think there is fraud to the state paying for the nursing home when my sisters share should have paid until that money ran out.

TMcJD :

Why were you fighting at the probate estate level when the will directed everything to go to the trust -- maybe there's information I'm missing but that seems like bad legal advice and/or services by the attorney. Could you explain what the reasoning was and why you didn't wait to force a distribution of trust property once everything was in the trust? Thanks.

Customer:

Nothing was turned over to the trust until we went to probate court and that was 12 years after my mother died. We did not know that she could turn everything over to the trust at that point. That is when we gave up. We agree it was all a bad experience.

TMcJD :

I see. I'm sorry you've had this experience. Do you know if the trust terms require distribution of the property to the 4 of you named as beneficiaries of the trust? Or does the trust allow the property to be held in trust over time?

Customer:

It can be held in trust over time but not longer than 25 years. The will had stated that everything would be divided upon her death, but that did not happen.

Customer:

i have to run an errand so I can't wait any longer for an answer

TMcJD :

Okay. Thanks for the clarification on everything. Again, please let me say I'm very sorry you're going through all this. Unfortunately, your remedy would involve getting another attorney and going back to court. That is because if the trust terms provide that the property can be held in trust, you would only be able to force a distribution if you could show that your sister that is trustee has abused her duties as trustee (and if the trust terms allow distribution at the discretion of the trustee). If the trust terms don't allow a distribution within the 25 years, even at the discretion of the trustee, it would be more difficult to compel a distribution. Either way, you unfortunately would have to take the issues before the court to get anything done. As far as you being liable for your sister's wrongdoing - you have no liability there. You didn't provide inaccurate information. She did. Only she can be liable for her unlawful acts. The state could take your other sister's share of the trust for expenses and costs they have incurred for her care, but the state would not be able to take your share of the trust property. I wish I had better news for you, but the legal remedies in this type of situation are complex and do require court action (which means an attorney would need to be involved).

TMcJD :

Please let me know if you need clarification or additional information.

TMcJD :

I wish I could have provided better news for you, but the law just doesn't provide an easy remedy. Please keep in mind when rating my service that you are rating my professionalism, not whether the law supports your position or was what you wanted or expected. I hate it when the law doesn't support your position or is different than what you wanted or expected, but I have to tell you the trust. Please don't shoot the messenger.

TMcJD :

Thanks for understanding.

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